What Do I Do When Models Don’t Show Up?

“Ability is a wonderful thing, but its value is greatly enhanced by dependability.”— Robert A. Heinlein

The titles of today’s post is a question other photographers often ask me so I thought I would use this pre-holiday weekend post to answer it. As any photographer who has worked with models can attest, no shows are a fact of life. Occasionally they might send  an e-mail or call the day before requesting a reschedule, other times you get a text or e-mail around the time the model should be walking in the door saying they can’t make it while other times they simply don’t show up. No e-mail, no phone call, no text.

The possibility of no-shows is always there, especially with new models you’ve never worked with before. That’s one reason I like to schedule a brief interview with new models in advance of any shoot at a convenient (for them) Starbucks and, I even buy the coffee. But get this, more than 30% of the models never show up for these interviews; No e-mail, no phone call, no text. And while that’s disappointing, at least I’m in a pleasant environment and can have a cup of Earl Grey tea.

I have not found a foolproof way of pre-qualifying a model’s dependability. Referrals don’t work, even having worked with a model before doesn’t seem to matter. If any photographer out there has come up with a way to minimize or eliminate model shows, please click Contact and send me an e-mail. In return, I’ll send you a nice gift and may do a follow-up post to share your good idea.

So what do I do about a no-shows? The honest answer is nothing. After spending hours charging camera batteries, assembling softboxes, installing backgrounds making my in-home studio ready-to-shoot and doing  testing of the first set of lighting setups. I do nothing… just sit and contemplate the mysteries of the universe. But sometime other things happen.

Once when shooting at my friend Jack Dean’s studio he volunteered his young daughters as substitute models and both were extraordinarily charming and did extremely well as models. My photographs of them ended up being featured in an issue of Shutterbug. Another time, Jack loaned me this mannequin (he used for practicing lighting setups) and which is the featured photograph of today’s post. Many thanks, Jack for all the help you’ve given me over the years.

Available Light Glamour Photography


All of the models that appear in Joe’s book “Available Light Glamour Photography” are real flesh and blood. The book is available from Amazon with some of their associate vendors selling new copies for just $9.99 plus shipping.

Author: Joe Farace

Share This Post On
%d bloggers like this: